books, tags

The Bibliophile Sweater Tag

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Hello all! I’ve been tagged by Jameson @ LovelyWhatsoevers to give my take on “The Bibliophile Sweater Tag” — which, yes, equates reading to different types of sweaters. Personally, I love sweaters (although I like the snow I do not like the cold), so this will be fun.

Fuzzy Sweater (a book that is the epitome of comfort)

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This may seem like a slightly odd choice, considering the subject matter (magical killer sea horses), but re-reading this title always feels comfortable. Even the first time I read it, I never felt like the tension turned to actual peril, and I was always confident everyone who needed to survive would (Maggie Stiefvater is really good about not gratitiously killing off her characters), and I knew a satisfying ending was coming. This novel just plain makes me happy.

Striped Sweater (you devoured every line of this book)

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Honestly, sometimes I re-read whole sentences or even entire paragraphs in this early Discworld title, because it is just THAT GOOD. Pratchett was the master of subtle foreshadowing and wry, droll, and spot-on poignant (rather, tearjerking) comments about life and love. After reading it all the way through about 4 times over the past dozen or so years, I still get all choked up at particular scenes.

Ugly Christmas Sweater (book with a weird cover)

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My apologies to anyone who gets scared by this bizarre little creature. This was one I had a really hard time looking at (my ex-husband owned it). I am not a fan of horror, so I never was able to read anything by HP Lovecraft, though for some reason the depictions of Cthulhu don’t scare me (whereas this cover did).

Cashmere Sweater (most expensive book you’ve bought)

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Cheating slightly, because this is the most expensive edition I own, but it was a gift. The art is just astounding, beautiful and graceful, sometimes haunting and quite otherworldly. The stories within are definitely more for adults (not the Disney-ized stuff), but they carry so much Old World charm and just a bit of sadness. Truly captivating.

Hoodie (favorite classic)

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Not a huge fan of classics to start with, but I will always give Dickens a chance. A Tale of Two Cities is positively my favorite; the intense and ultimately beautiful arc of compassion and redemption in spite of human failings and suffering does me in every time.

Cardigan (book you bought on impulse)

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Complete impulse — I was pre-ordering the latest Warriors title for White Fang and saw that Stiefvater’s newest had just been released. I knew it was coming out in 2017, but I was going to wait until my local library had it. However, with one click, that was changed forever…

Turtleneck (book from your childhood)

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Although this was published even before I was born, I read it for the first time around the age of 9 or 10. It’s a great, realistic adventure that ordinary kids find themselves in the middle of, totally by accident, so there are no “chosen one” tropes or too much danger or unnecessarily harrowing moments. It’s appropriate for MG readers in any decade, and the main characters are normal, truly likable kids.

Homemade Knitted Sweater (an indie-published title)

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Since I can’t do my own (but many, many thanks to Jameson for the gorgeous shot of Rulers and Mages on her blog!!!)… Kyle Shultz has created such a fun and engaging series set in an alternate history/universe, full of mythical creatures and magic and a unique twist on fairytales. If you haven’t started reading these novels yet, get going!

V-neck (a book that didn’t meet your expectations)

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I had such high hopes for this one. I wrote a full review on Goodreads and highlighted it in my February mini-reviews. To say it certainly didn’t meet my expectations is an understatement.

Argyle Sweater (book with a unique format)

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Usually I just read text-only books (apart from some MG choices with illustrations, like The Familiars), so The Illuminae Files is definitely one of the most uniquely-formatted titles I’ve encountered.

Polka-dot Sweater (a book with well-rounded characters)

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One of the things that drew me in right away about this series was the characters. They always felt so real — and yes, these are talking cats. Among my favorites in the very early tales are Firestar, Bluestar, Yellowfang, and Spottedleaf.

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blogging, books, writing

The Past, Present, and Future of The Invisible Moth

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My blog is 3 years old this January! Did I remember? Not at all! WordPress sent me a congratulatory notification. At least once I saw it, memory clicked.

In January 2015, I started this blog with little more than a domain name and a lot of nerves. I knew very little about blogging, networking, social media, and really this whole world. After a few months, I started to get the hang of following others, blog-hopping (understanding that term), and not only building community (not “only”, though, it’s important!), but I was also beginning to get a feel for what I really wanted this space — my space — to encompass.

For most of 2015 and 2016, I’d been researching self-publishing options, trying to get a better handle on whether it would be for me, the possible pitfalls, and determine if I should pursue it, or go back to continuing attempts at submissions to literary agents.

Well, if you’ve been around here for any length of time, you know that I went with self-publishing, and it’s a good fit. I love being able to share my experiences and thoughts and writing process with you all through blogging and social media connections.

 

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I also get to use author platforms such as Goodreads and connect with my readers (and I have readers!) and obsessively stalk — ahem, I mean, have the chance to check in with reviewers, book stats for my titles, and find out what awesome stuff is going on with other indie authors.

To say that I feel blessed to be part of this community just doesn’t do the sentiment justice.

So, now that I’ve reached another milestone, what awaits for The Invisible Moth in 2018?

Well, other than I’ll certainly still be here with publishing updates, reviews, and probably the occasional giveaway, I have to admit that most likely I won’t be blogging as much this year.

Seems a bit odd after working so hard to reach my current status, huh? This has been a hard decision to make. While I’m definitely not quitting blogging, or even going on a hiatus, there are particular goals I want to focus on this year that will take more time than the universe is willing to give me. Since I, sadly, am not in possession of a Time Turner or a TARDIS, I need to choose how quickly I want to accomplish a, b, and c, and what I may have to set aside temporarily in order to do so.

 

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Hence, I really need to devote more of my waking hours to writing things that are not blog posts.

In the past, I’ve toyed with the notion of cutting back, then felt guilty, tried, failed, given up the concept, become slightly overwhelmed, and come back to it.

So, my new schedule for blogging will probably look like a new post once a week, and I’ll stick to reviews and WIP stuff for a bit. Once I get more of this stuff polished off (closer to summer), chances are I’ll feel like expanding back to in-depth discussions and maybe even trying new topics.

At the moment, though, there are THINGS that my brain needs to devote its energy to.

So that you have amazing stuff to read in the near future.

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Remember, I am still looking for ARC readers for How To Be A Savage — and a cover designer. I’m opening it up to a sort of contest format, like before, and if you’re interested in coming up with a cover for a novel about autistic superheroes/spies, drop me a line! (The contact information under my heading works for everything from inquires about book sales to submitting artwork to asking polite questions about Toby’s well-being.)

Here’s to 2018 being awesome!

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blogging, books, writing

Planning Ahead: Expanding the Platform, Attending Conferences, Confirming Publishing Goals

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Good morning! Hope you’re all staying warm!

Let’s get right to it — plenty to discuss this time.

One: The idea of me starting making video reviews.

Okay, the very thought of joining YouTube and struggling with all of their technical issues (and some of their not-very-nice viewers) makes me start to hyperventilate. White Fang has a YouTube channel, and some of his experiences have been wonderful, others not so much.

Plus, I do not extrovert — things like appearing in front of the camera. (The person who suggested I branch out in this method really needs to double check how well he thinks he know me.)

Anyway, there has been the recommendation that I could remain audio-only and do a few reviews with screen shots or something as background. Hmmm… I might experiment with that notion. I’d probably try out the first video on Twitter or Facebook, though, rather than just throw myself to the wolves of YouTube.

(Professional YouTubers have my undying respect. Seriously.)

Let me know what you think of all this!

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Two: I might try to go to a writers’ conference this year.

I went to one a couple years ago, and while I was only there for one day, and it was a small conference center, and I managed to survive the whole thing largely unscathed, it was still HARD.

Remember, the me no extrovert clause.

Also, I didn’t know anyone there, and I wasn’t yet a published author, and the market for speculative fiction (what I primarily write) just didn’t exist at this particular spot. Quite a shame on that bit…

Anyway, people are already flailing over Realm Makers 2018, and while attempting to attend this would be a WHOLE BIG THING for me (just imagine me running around my house screaming at the very possibility), it would be a lot of fun.

So, what do you reckon, moths? Should I look into this?

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Three: Firming up my publication ambitions for this year.

So, here’s what I would really like to do:

Publish How To Be A Savage before winter’s over.

Release Volume 3 sometime this spring.

Get the field guide out shortly after.

Make sure Volume 4 is ready to go before the end of 2018.

Here’s my back-up plan: Savage, Volume 3, field guide on tap prior to the calendar changing to 2019, Volume 4 coming to fruition early next year.

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Given that, after all of that, White Fang and I will start seriously attacking our collaboration standalone sequel (and of course he’ll be in school until June, which limits his availability for this project in the meantime), I think this is certainly enough to have on my plate at present.

Next question: Who here is interested in an ARC for How To Be A Savage?

Who here wants to design the cover?

Please form an orderly queue, over to your right.

I’ll be accepting comments on everything mentioned above until I get satisfactory answers. (Don’t worry, I don’t bite. Remember, I’m close-contact-phobic.)

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books, The Invisible Moth

The January Book Club!

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Hello, everyone! So, as we prepare for the next book club meeting (I meant to figure out something before now — heh, what’s this passage of time thing?!), I’ll get you all ready to buy more of my work  ahem, I mean, to indulge yourself in my wonderfully enchanting, delightful, humorous, and thought-provoking collection of short stories!

(Okay, yes, that means buy the book so that you can join in the club meeting on January 30th.)

(Hey, what? A girl’s gotta make sure her kids eat!)

Anyway, this is an anthology of short stories and flash fiction that I first shared on the blog several months ago, and now they’re all available together, with some additions. The additions are: I’ve included author’s notes, so you can see where my inspiration for each of these vastly different tales came from; and there is a lovely cover created by Alea Harper.

So, order now for the joy of joining in the discussion at the end of January! Make good use of those Christmas coupons and gift cards!

Ahem, I mean — ahh, heck, that is what I mean.

Happy holiday season, moths!

books, community, writing

The Invisible Moth Self-Publishes: The Hows and The Whys

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Hello all! So, I’ve had a request to create a post on why I use the publisher/distributor I do. (And really, it’s part of a much bigger, more involved discussion, that I’ve been wanting to go into at some point, anyway.)

Also, I promised myself recently that I’d use more Supernatural gifs in my postings. (You’re welcome.)

So, when I first started on this journey… It was December 2016, I’d just won NaNo, and I wanted to take that leap and self-publish. Hopefully get some sales. After I finished dying from nerves, I began investigating the possible routes for doing this.

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I looked into Amazon.com, and got CONFUSED. There was too much fine print, too much I didn’t understand about the software CreateSpace uses, too much regarding the process of editing and formatting that made my head become way too ouchy.

So, shedding a fair amount of tears, I began Googling alternatives. Turns out a lot of small companies (at least in America) that print your wedding invitations/vacation scrapbook pages/independent business cards are also getting into self-publishing. (Especially for people who aren’t sure about entering the sellers’ market, and may only want to print 50 copies of their passion project for family and friends.)

Anyway, I found a local printer that has connected with Amazon and offers you the chance to buy an ISBN, and will provide copies of your book to Amazon for sale on the website, if you wish. Or they’ll just print however many copies you want to pay for, and then you can do what you want with them.

Given the intimidating process (to me) of working with Amazon directly, this sounded freaking amazing.

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As of spring 2017, I was finished with the proofreading, and deemed my document ready to print. (There were a few minor things I really wanted to make 110% perfect, but honestly, it wasn’t worth getting all wigged out about.)

At the time, I didn’t have the money to obtain an ISBN. (It’s why the first edition of Masters and Beginners — with the Toby cover — doesn’t have one.) But this little local storefront was SO helpful in terms of formatting, being patient as I proofed, designing the cover, answering my many questions, and not getting ticked off that it took me a couple of months to feel satisfied. They were awesome for a first-time indie author on a steep learning curve, and I am immensely grateful for that.

Now, the only downside of choosing this method was that I had to pay upfront for printing. And then if I sold books to, say, readers of my blog who live far, far away from me, I had to pay for shipping myself.

While, of course, I LOVE my readers, and was happy to make sure they received their orders, it made my initial earnings quickly dwindle.

So, as I was drafting Volume 2, and losing my mind a bit over the idea of further expenses, I wanted to find a more affordable way.

But I did NOT want to go through Amazon.

As I’ve come to meet other indie authors and hopefuls, I’ve been part of a lot of talk about the pros and cons of doing this yourself. One of the major cons seems to be (interestingly) Amazon.com. The consensus is apparently: When Amazon works well, it’s great. But if it messes up, wow, is it a mess.

Every time I Googled “self-publishing,” Amazon immediately came up. Gah.

Then, one day, when I was placing a pre-order for White Fang on Barnes & Noble, I saw an advertisement for Nook Press print services.

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I thought Nook Press was only e-books. Personally, I don’t have anything against e-books, but I prefer to have the hardcopy option (as I am a traditionalist in this regard, and nothing beats a physical novel in your hand, turning the pages, sniffing the ink….).

I digress. At some point, Nook expanded and now includes hardcopy as well as digital.

*happy dance moment*

Barnes & Noble has a reputation for good customer service, encouraging indie authors, and will provide you with an ISBN free of additional charge.

My experience with Nook Press has been thus:

Their formatting software is very straightforward, with plenty of tutorials and tips. If you get stuck on something, contact the support department, and they’ll get back to you within 48 hours.

They charge a commission upfront for printing and shipping, so your royalties are based on what’s left after that. You get to decide how much to sell your book for. After submitting your final proofs and cover, your finished product should be ready to go within 4 days.

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In the interest of keeping costs down, I choose paperback, but through Nook Press you can have your title created in hard cover if you so desire.

Your publication will have its own spot on the Barnes & Noble website, and online customers can purchase it just like anything else the store offers. (You don’t need an account to order; guest checkout works well, too.)

Your friends and readers can post reviews on B&N.com, singing the praises of your work. (I believe there is a word limit, so just keep that in mind.)

Compare this to the most recent grouch I saw about Amazon — that if you’re friends with an indie author on Amazon, they may take down your review “because it is more likely to be biased.”

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Yes, this came from an actual Tweet I saw yesterday. The Tweeter in question prompted me to make this post.

This is one of many reasons I decided not to use Amazon.

I am very happy with the choice I made to self-publish through Barnes & Noble.

I greatly support brick-and-mortar bookstores in an era when so much is digital or available with the click of a mouse. Although my titles are only obtained through a website purchase, I totally love that Barnes & Noble has real, tangible buildings that writers and readers can walk into, pick up a paperback or hard cover, turn the pages and sniff the ink.

I encourage others who are considering getting into indie publishing to select Nook Press.

(If you do use Amazon and are content with that, rock on.)

These are just my (requested) reflections.

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blogging, books

The Writer’s Book Tag (Not To Be Confused With The Last Tag I Did)

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Yes, I am on a tag spree! Well, such nice people keep tagging me, and every now and then, I need to write a little bit of something that does not count towards NaNo, so, here we go.

The last post I did was The Writer’s Tag — this is The Writer’s Book Tag, meaning it’s about books that writers read.

First Draft: A book or series that you’ve never read before.

I have never read anything by Brandon Sanderson (though he seems to be big in the fantasy lovers’ camp), and I never picked up the Percy Jackson series — any of them.

Second Draft: A book or series you didn’t like as much the second time you read it.

I’d have to say Charlotte’s Web and The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And I know these are both classics and very important to a lot of readers, and please don’t hurt me! Maybe there’s something about approaching some children’s tales with the innocence of a child’s perspective. While I loved Wilbur and Charlotte’s story as a youth, somehow re-reading it as an adult made me feel like, “Oh, please, spare me the bleeding heart!” (And I’m not a dyed-in-the-wool right-winger by any means.) And while I completely understand that the demise and return of Aslan is totally a metaphor for the events of the first Easter, re-reading this novel again in my adulthood absolutely broke my heart for Susan and Lucy — so young — having to witness all of that. I think if Lewis had made their characters a little older (say, 18 and 16), I wouldn’t have found it so traumatic.

Final Draft: A book or series that you’ve liked for a really long time.

Harry Potter. It’s one of the few recent series that I feel easily has the potential to become a classic, that I’ve re-read all the books and not found their impact to be diminished, and I can’t wait to share them with my own kids.

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Killing Off Your Characters: A book or series that made you cry.

Do I get to mention Harry Potter again so soon? So. Much. Crying.

Plot Holes: A book or series that disappointed you.

The sequels to Jackaby are at the top of this list. I really enjoyed the first, the second was pretty good, but seemed to have nothing to do with the whole arc, and the third totally killed my interest. A real shame.

Writer’s Block: A book or series you never finished.

Wow, there are plenty of these! I’m probably the queen of DNF (and usually have no qualms about it!). One that really digs at me is Jackaby, though — see above — I’ve decided not to even read the fourth and final novel.

Feedback: A book or series you’d recommend to anyone and everyone.

For fantasy, I’d say The Scorpio Races. For non-fantasy, To Kill a Mockingbird, A Tale of Two Cities, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and if you need a contemporary, Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella or Girl Online by Zoe Suggs.

Per tradition, I won’t be tagging anybody else, but if you need a blog post and fancy this one, have a great time!

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books, The Invisible Moth

Dreamings and Muses Now On Sale!

Dreamings and Muses

Well, it took a little while (don’t we all love formatting issues?!), but my complete short story collection is now available!

If you click on the link below, you’ll find the information towards obtaining your own copy!

Massive thanks to Alea Harper for the wonderful cover (and putting up with all the re-formatting we had to do)!

This is a nice little collection of 4 stories that I penned a while back, and now have compiled for print. I also included author’s notes on my influences and writing process.

The contents are “Just Pretend,” “Me and You,” “Primitive,” and “Tad Fallows and the Quarter Pints.” The first and second are basically romance, with elements of speculative fiction; the third is my only attempt at sci-fi; and for those of you who think the title of the fourth sounds familiar, yes, you’re right. This short story actually sparked one of the clever little plot points in Masters and Beginners.

The sale price is $6.55 (USD), plus shipping in most cases. (Remember, Barnes and Noble has free shipping options sometimes!)

(Okay, awkward self-promotion moving onwards… Still hoping it encourages some of you to place an order — your support is always the best, moths!)

I’m afraid I can’t offer any free review copies this time. I do plan to add this anthology (cool word, huh?) to Goodreads, and if anyone wishes to post a review in the future, that would be lovely!

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dreamings-and-muses-daley-downing/1127168779?ean=9781538036631